The Rivers Elders and Leaders Forum has said it would approach the court of law to interpret the 8-point resolutions by President Bola Tinubu on the political crisis in Rivers state, saying his intervention had no semblance of peace.
According to the Elders, there was no peace in the presidential agreement orchestrated by President Tinubu, as the directive that Governor Siminalayi Fubara should reverse all his resolutions against the 27 legislators, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All-Progressives Congress (APC), and recall all the commissioners, who resigned from his cabinet is illegal.
In an open letter, addressed to President Tinubu and signed by a former governor of Rivers State, Chief Rufus Ada-George and 19 others, the statesmen stated that the composition and attendance at the peace meeting in Abuja showed a lack of balance between the two factions.
They noted that “the faction recognized by a court of competent jurisdiction, the Elders of Rivers State, traditional rulers, women and youth leadership, were not represented at the meeting.”
“Giving a directive for the reinstatement of commissioners who willfully resigned, and the 27 former legislators, who in all clear conscience and by legal implication jumped boat and got themselves dismissed from the affairs of the Assembly, should be reinstated and remunerated, smacks of a sense of political irresponsibility, lack of sensitivity to the laws of the land and due process.”
The group further insisted that the seats of the defector-members of the state House of Assembly “have been declared vacant by the Speaker, known to law, Rt Hon Ehie Edison, through an ex parte order issued by the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt division.”
It was “evident that Governor Siminalayi Fubara, the Chief Executive Officer of Rivers State, was coerced into submitting to your (Tinubu) premeditated action plan even when it is well known that Mr President does not possess such powers to give directives to a democratically elected governor or impose his will on the state government and the good people of Rivers State.”
“As far as we are concerned, that meeting did not happen and those directives are not implementable because to do so will be acting against the constitution and the rule of law.”
The elders also told the governor, “You are a principal participant in the entire saga and the Presidential Peace Proclamation is not as bad as being portrayed by those genuinely opposed to it,” noting that the peace proclamation has elicited mixed reactions from Rivers people and across the country.
The forum advised the governor not to place too much premium on the assurances of “detractors” but rather, be guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as he swore to uphold.
“The Forum believes that there could be peace in Port Harcourt and indeed the entire Rivers if only your Excellency would be circumspect in your actions, measured in your engagements, and have a critical mind in your review of events.
“Therefore, Mr. Governor, you have no constitutional or any other legal power to implement the Presidential Peace Proclamation,” the statement stated.